by Andrei Tutu, 30th October 2015
Ford may have swept us off our heel-and-toeing feet at the Geneva Motor Show back in March with the 2016 Focus RS, but the team had a greater challenge on its hands than it might have seemed at first.
With the car having been shown at the Swiss venue, the carmaker realized the engine was not quite up to the go-fast standard of their manic hatch. The 2.3-liter turbocharged four of the Mustang had to be massaged in order to be hardcore enough for the 2016 Focus RS.
Compared to the unit in the Mustang, the version used on the Focus features high tensile cast iron cylinder liners, a new compressor housing and turbocharger wheel, as well as a Cosworth-supplied cylinder head.
As a result, the 2.3-liter four-pot went from 310 hp and 300 lb-ft (407 Nm) to a considerably meatier 345 hp and 325 lb-ft (441 Nm) of twist, which are dialed all the way up to 347 lb-ft (470 Nm) when the Overboost spell is cast by the driver.
The process started soon after Geneva, with Ford Performance heading over to Sweden to blow some high-octane steam. First of all, the engine didn’t deliver the expected output.
And while the engineers were working to fix that, they thought they might as well gift the third-generation with a corresponding soundtrack. After all, the five-cylinder turbo mill of its predecessor came with one of the sweetest soundtracks in the hot hatch world.
In the process, Ford pitted the 2016 Focus RS prototypes against all members of the competition that matter. As a result, their ice and snow test convoy also included the Audi S3, BMW M135i, Volkswagen Golf R, Subaru Impreza WRX STI and the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo.
Now that the first passenger ride reviews are out, the Focus RS is looking like a memorable hot hatch, one that has the power to use its abilities for the kind of activities Ken Block gets paid for.
However, what we really want to see are the comparison tests. And given Ford’s efforts, we’re ready to bet on the RS, at least when it comes to the hooning factor competition.
How Ford Secretly Reinvented the Mustang?s EcoBoost after Not Meeting Focus RS Specs - Video - autoevolution